Garbage disposals are found in most kitchens it seems these days and definitely in practically every restaurant. That’s because garbage disposals make cleaning easier, help reduce drain clogs in the kitchen sink, and make kitchens more sanitary. In fact, disposing of food in the garbage disposal reduces bacteria growth in the trash bin and may help keep critters that are foraging for food out of your house and trash. However, there are some types of foods that you NEVER want to put down the garbage disposal. Here’s what to know.


The reason some foods shouldn’t be placed into the garbage disposal is because of how garbage disposals actually work. When you place food into the garbage disposal, the food falls into the grinding chamber. When the garbage disposal is turned on, a spinning disc forces the food waste to the walls of the grinding chamber. This process crushes the food into tiny pieces and bits. Water helps wash the food bits away through small holes in the chamber walls. It’s worthy to note that garbage disposals don’t have sharp teeth like some people believe. But, rather garbage disposals have blunt impellers that help grind food.


Foods that are “stringy” like fibrous celery shouldn’t be placed into the garbage disposal. That’s because the fiber becomes separated from the food and gets stuck in the small holes or may even get stuck in the garbage disposal’s rotors or jam up the motor. It can be quite difficult to unclog the mess of stringy foods. Further, running a jammed up garbage disposal can burn out the motor. So, foods like celery, string beans, and asparagus should be thrown out in the trash.


Bacon is probably welcome in most kitchens, but not inside the garbage disposal (not that anyone would ever throw out bacon!). Well, any foods that are high in liquid fat don’t belong in the garbage disposal. When the fat cools, it solidifies again and becomes sticky. Some folks may flush grease down the drain with hot water, but that can actually make the problem worse. The grease and solidifies before it reaches the sewer, which it likely does, and begins to build up inside your pipes. The solution is to put grease in a metal tin and throw it out with the trash.


Starchy foods are kind of sticky by nature, such as rice, potatoes, and breads. Well, they are sticky inside the garbage disposal, too, and they can stick to other surfaces, foods, and clogs that are forming and contribute to the problem. Another problem with rice and bread is that they expand with water, which could mean more clogging. So, toss starchy foods in the trash bin.


There are some myths that putting eggshells in a garbage disposal helps to sharpen the blades. As you already read, garbage disposals don’t have blades to sharpen. In fact, eggshells and other shelled foods are not good at all for your garbage disposal as they can stick to other substances and contribute to clogs. So, stick to the facts about shelled foods and throw them out in the trash bin.

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